October 27, 2002

WHY I LOVE COOL EDIT PRO: Cool Edit Pro is an audio editing program. There are others that are bigger sellers (WaveLab and Sound Forge, for example, both of which I also have, and which are perfectly fine). But Cool Edit Pro is the geek’s favorite, and here’s an example of why. I was reading the manual the other day. I hadn’t bothered before because Cool Edit is very intuitive, and if you know your way around a recording studio most of its functions are quite obvious and easy to use. But the manual’s actually very good, and in the midst of a multi-page section on different types of filters I ran across this:

Cool Edit Pro attempts to give as much flexibility as possible when designing filters. You can specify pass and stop band frequencies and an attenuation dB, and Cool Edit Pro will do the rest. However, advanced users may want to set the order of the filter for a number of reasons. . . . There is also an option 2 for this type. For this you specify everything but passband ripple, and Cool Edit Pro picks that. This can lead to some pretty strange-looking filters, but is good to give you an idea of the tradeoffs involved if nothing else. This is a holdover from the bad old days when filters were expensive and one was always trying to push what could be done with a low order filter. Now it’s just there as a learning tool.

“Now it’s just there as a learning tool.” I love that philosophy, and the whole program is that way. It’s easy to use, but it’s designed to teach you things as you use it. Not coincidentally, it began its life as shareware.

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